Once You Know

Once You Know

There is a curious dynamic in being human. Once we know, we know.

For example, a DNA test. They can reveal some fascinating detail about your makeup and origins. But what about the genetic markers you have for diseases such as Alzheimers? What about unknown relatives appearing that your ancestors may have hidden? There can be surprises. These are things that once you know, you cannot stop knowing. Good to know but it’s not always easy.

With knowledge comes responsibility. Even in simple things like crossing the street. Children may dart out into traffic. But once they understand the rules of the street, they gain a responsibility to follow them. By the time we’re adults, breaking the laws of the road lead to consequences.

This is both a benefit and a hazard of the spiritual path. Once we know who we are, we can’t fall all the way back into our old way of ignorance. We now have a responsibility to see it through.

Every choice we make has unintended consequences (to us). But if we favour the good and what we know to be right, the path will come out well.

The parable of the Garden of Eden points to a related example. Adam and Eve get cast out of paradise for eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They lose their innocence and must now live with the responsibility of right action. (of course, there are several ways the parable can be taken)

We may see this as a growing up. In maturing into our greater potential as beings with the capacity for choice and enlightenment.

After incarnating through 8,400,000 life-forms, you have obtained this rare human body. Don’t waste it. Each moment of life is very valuable. If you don’t understand the value of this life, you will have nothing in hand, and in the end you will weep.

You are a human being. Therefore you have the power to discriminate between good and bad, and you can accomplish the greatest human goals. Don’t think of yourself as weak or fallen. Whatever has happened in the past, understand that it was done unknowingly. But now be careful. Try to understand the responsibility of human birth and act accordingly. Discern for yourself what is right and what is wrong. Adopt the good and reject the bad.

If, as a human being, you fail to reach God, then you have sold a diamond for the price of spinach.
  — Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath

Now you know. 🙂

Last Updated on November 11, 2017 by Davidya

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    1. michael

      I was recently drawn to look at a picture of him. Boy that was transformational!!!!
      and then i was drawn again a week later and another opening and deepening.
      i felt totally transformed in a way i can not put into words.
      He was/is really a MASTER!


      1. Yes, he was one of the more illustrious sages of our time. Left home at 9 to seek a master. Lived remotely for most of his life. He had a presence you could feel for miles. And through several teachers, had a global impact.

  1. Jim

    Yeah, Bramananda Saraswati is The Shnizzit! Continues to be very influential and a huge inspiration to all who notice him. Couldn’t be a bigger fan. He is unblemished integrity and unconditional love, 100 percent. Kicks some serious cosmic butt; a true master of the universe. 🙂

      1. Jim

        I don’t know, but what I meant was that Brahmananda Saraswati overcomes all obstacles. His experience is cosmic experience, a perfect symmetry. You said earlier you were struck by his picture. Yes, it is the picture of perfect self-sufficiency, cosmic power. I was also very drawn to his image – the one in the beginning of MMY’s BG 1-6. An individual with very dynamic silence. No attention on him is wasted.

        1. michael

          thanks Jim!

          Yes his picture…….sooooo much power and presence “behind” it.
          Also like your wording ….”dynamic silence”, that fits perfectly what i have experienced of him.


          1. Jim

            Keep at it, and you will possibly find him a most accepting and comforting presence. He has a fierce appearance, though that is simply the personification of his unwavering discrimination. Last, with knowledge comes responsibility, though he is the real deal. Comes right through. Thanks

          2. michael

            Hi Jim!

            Just yesterday i was drawn again to the photo and it was again incredibly powerful.
            when i walked to my job i felt
            doubt (i have problems with the collective consciousness there….it is really hard on my body, but never got a signal to leave that job behind; david has allready clarified some of this phenomena for me), he came smiled at me, then gave me a light slap on the back of my head and told me” that is your job until you hear otherwise”. With that came a wave of “he knows it is hard on my body but that is something i have to endure”.
            Actually the light slap activated some more opening 🙂

            being deeply thankful/grateful

            thanks for the link David!!

  2. N

    Hi David,

    I find it difficult to believe the stuff about karma and reincarnation 100 %, because I would have to believe it through faith and not through direct experience. I believe it to an extent but not completely.

    Therefore, I start to wonder what one could say something that would have the same effect as that quote, which I could test for myself.

    I guess just being alive and seeing how life gets better, when I act with good intentions etc. would help, but still.

    I feel that reading his quote and understanding the essence of it, doesn’t mean that I or someone else “knows” – unfortunately :-). And I believe that if something is true, then we don’t need to reach his heights to know.

    Do you have another way to explain what he is saying in a way that doesn’t require faith?

    1. Hi N
      I don’t find it all that useful to believe this or that. It is interesting to explore ideas and see what seems to match experience.

      I would note that this quote is a translation and I’ve seen a few variations (as in the link in the 2nd comment). Further, it’s a generalization. For example, not everyone becomes human by working through all the species.

      It’s also useful to remember context. In India most do recognize karma and reincarnation but an attitude has developed that “I’ll get it right next time.” They’ve gotten casual about it.

      (The Bible had references to reincarnation that were mostly removed at the Council of Nicaea for similar reasons)

      Guru Dev is emphasizing the importance of taking advantage of this life for spiritual progress.

      And really – that’s the main point. The rest of it is just details.

      Make sense?

      1. N

        Hi David,

        Thanks. Yes, it does. I think in general my mind has to catch up and actually believe the things I have experience myself.

        It just seems so far out there compared to the way most people perceive the world. So even though the most logical thing would be to believe the experiences I’ve had, I still find it a little difficult.

        But I guess it’s quite normal?

        1. Yep.
          As another article recently discussed, doubt is very common. In a sense, the mind tries to maintain the status quo. Maintain stability in the face of change, even if its a bit false.

          Funnily enough, there are lots of people having non-standard experiences. But because others tend to dismiss such things or pathologize them, we keep them to ourselves.

          Myself, I developed the attitude not to believe in it but not repress it either. Just allow it to be there. If it was real, it would grow in experience. If it was false, it would stay the same or fade.

  3. Jim

    “For example, not everyone becomes human by working through all the species.”

    This really intrigued and delighted me when I read it – can you provide an example, please?

    1. For example, sometimes angels “fall” and step into a human cycle of incarnation. I’ve heard a fair few people alive in the current time are such.

      I’ve also met people who said their prior lives were in an alien race. Some of that may be dubious but it would certainly be possible.

      Reading a text like the Yog Vasishtha makes it clear pretty much anything is possible even if it’s not typical. 🙂

  4. Jim

    Ah, OK, makes sense – Thank you! I was reading it as, “even though a soul has worked itself through all the species, it may not become human”, and was fascinated by the possibility of a soul bypassing us, to become instead say, Lord of the Zebras, for example. Though I haven’t really looked into how such assignments are made.

    1. From what I’ve seen, we mostly continue on a related path. Experiences as a Zebra wouldn’t usually qualify you to be a Zebra deva as the dynamics are very different.

      There are some occasional exceptions but it would take some kind of intervention to shift process. And what of the karma?

  5. Jim

    Yes, I agree.

    I was surfing on your comment about the Yog Vasishtha, going through the possibilities. Personally I cannot imagine what it would take to be the lord of zebras.

    However it would be refined enough to communicate a presence to even us if open to it, and a strong desire to lead and integrate the zebras. Yes, the karma is another consideration, and I have only ever had one t-shirt with zebras on it, though there were a lot of them. Hardly enough to qualify I am afraid… 🙂

    1. 🙂
      I have noticed how differently devas see the world than humans. They also embody their specializations much more. I suppose thats because they live in their laws while we’re more generic in form and the laws live through us.

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